Failed of Restoration of Ecce Homo (Behold the Man)

Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
www.nytimes.com/2012/08/24/world/europe/botched-restoration- of-ecce-homo-fresco-shocks-spain.html

Our Project

Recently, there were news about amateur restorers accidentally destroying a painting in a hopeless attempt to fix them. A case in Spain shows an artwork after an elderly parishioner tried to restore it. Another example in China left people speechless after a tenderfoot person left a 1000 year Buddha statue in an unrecognizable state. And that's only a few examples. Therefore, people realized that the artworks should be restored by professionals, and these professionals are called restorers.

Speaking of artworks, everyone has heard of the famous Louvre or the British Museum, but hardly anyone have ever heard of The National Palace Museum in Taiwan. Yet, this beautiful museum, modeled after Forbidden City in China, has one of the most exotic collection of paper artworks.

National Palace Museum holds thousands of ancient artifacts, and most of them are still in good condition. However, nothing could last forever, after few hundred years, papers broke down and paints faded. We only see the beautiful artworks displayed in the museum; we never get to know that there’s a group of restorers working very hard to make the artifacts look as good as they were created. Moreover, the restoration process of paper materials is rather difficult compared to the oil paintings of the west, each piece is delicate and fragile with a history and its culture behind it.

The National Palace Museum has been restoring the following types of artworks, ancient booklets, calligraphy and paintings, craftworks, and fabrics. We are very interested in the restoring process, therefore, we interviewed a restorer who expertises in calligraphy and painting restorations, Mr. Hong and Ms. Chen, to get to know more about artifacts restoration. And in this project, you’ll also learn about the brief history of National Palace Museum, general restoring process, and restorers’ education and duties.